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Biomaterials. 2011 Oct;32(30):7677-86. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2011.06.055. Epub 2011 Jul 20.

Tunable chemistry and morphology of multi-wall carbon nanotubes as a route to non-toxic, theranostic systems.

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  • 1Department of Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Silesian University of Technology, Krzywoustego 4, Gliwice 44-100, Poland. slawomir.boncel@polsl.pl


Nanomedicine is one of the most promising areas of exploitation for multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs). These 'needle-like' nanovehicles are capable of carrying drug molecules via exo- and endohedral functionalisation and are steerable by an external magnetic field due to the presence of ferromagnetic nanoparticles in the nanotube core (up to 7.3wt.%). These properties make them promising candidates for drug targeting or MRI contrast agents. Particularly, oxidised and nitrogen-doped MWNTs exhibiting enhanced chemical reactivity compared to their unmodified precursors/analogues could be exploited in this field. Here, we assessed the toxicity and intracellular localisation of two different, chemically modified and unmodified nanotubes towards human macrophage cells using a range of toxicity and imaging techniques. Oxidised and N-doped MWNTs were not significantly toxic to HMMs in contrast to unmodified MWNTs. All types of MWNTs entered the cell via active phagocytosis/endocytosis, but also passively by 'self-injection' through the plasma membrane, and were ultimately found in the cytoplasm and possibly also the nucleus. The attained results carry hope to utilise functionalised nanotube vectors as non-cytotoxic controllable drug delivery systems.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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